Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live." I want to change the world.

Life in the Fishbowl - Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live." I want to change the world.

Wait till next year…

I’ll bet you thought I forgot. I’ll bet you thought I was going to just let this series of posts fade away like Wonderful Wookiee Wednesday and Flashback Friday (which started waaaay before the whole Throwback Thursday trend. Yet again, I’m a trend-setter) and Thankful Thursday.

I’m happy to say that you were wrong.

2015 fireworks

It’s just taken me a while to finish this sentence:

“Next year looks better to me because…”

….things are in place for 2015 to be a dream year. Obviously, I cannot predict the future. But here are some things I would love to see happen by the end of next year:

    • I will be helping out a local nonprofit organization or two, utilizing the marketing skills I learned during my place of previous employment. It might not pay much, but that’s OK. We’re going to change the world.
    • We will finally be a family of six.
    • I will finally complete the One Year Bible. I started it back in…oh…2012. And I’m currently on track to complete it December 26, 2014. I suspect that end date might change. Unfortunately.
    • I will knock off a few items on my “Things I Want to Do” List. Like, maybe #1 (Go to the Men’s Final Four – it’s in Indy next year), #9 (Attend the Indianapolis 500), #31 (Visit Lincoln’s Tomb), #32 (Grow a Garden), and #88 & #89 (Build and Launch a Model Rocket with my Kids).
    • Maybe I will have figured out a way to have a getaway with Christy. A week would be awesome, but I’d be just as happy with just a night or two at this point.
    • There’s this little thing called Star Wars Episode VII that’s scheduled to come out in 2015. I just might have to take the family to a midnight showing of that on opening night.
    • Maybe Aiden will go fishing with me and my dad at Bennett Spring.
    • My story about a snowpocalypse falling upon Indy will be complete and I will be well on my way to finishing my story about a colony on Mars.

Since 2015 starts just a few months from now, it’s time to get cracking and lay the groundwork for what could very well be the most epic year of all time. You hear me?

Of.
all.
time.

For the Love of Star Wars

For the love of Star Wars

by Daniel Ellis

When Matt contacted me and asked if I would like to write about the impact Star Wars has had on me.  I was immediately excited by the prospect.  Who doesn’t want to talk about Star Wars, right?  After my initial excitement, though, I started to panic because I didn’t have a ready answer other than “duuhhh, lots of ways”.  I figured anybody who read this would want something a tad more substantial, so I reached out with my feelings realized two things that Star Wars gave to me: imagination and nostalgia.

I was born in 1976, 14 months before Star Wars blasted its way into theaters.  Some of my first memories are of TIE-Fighters, Burger King trading cards, the Droid Factory and Death Star play sets, and turning every stick or branch into a light saber.  From the point that I was retaining memory, Star Wars was a large part of my life and a huge inspiration for my imagination.  The ability to imagine, using my mind to create a place and time which I am currently not inhabiting, is a gift that Star Wars gave to me.

Star Wars is such a complex creation, full of fantastical situations and environments.  My young mind went to those exotic planets often in my playtime.  When I rode my bike, I saw the tall trees of Endor, and the sleek nose of the speeder bike extended beyond my handlebars.  When I put my army surplus belt on and shoved my toy Mauser pistol into the canteen pouch, I was Han Solo standing down a squad of Storm Troopers.  When I found thick grapevines hanging across a ravine behind Mansfield General Hospital, it was time to go to Dagobah and train to become a Jedi.  I yearned to visit those places, be those characters, and fight that good fight.

But wait, there’s more!  Star Wars did something else for me as well.  I had so much fun with my imagination throughout my childhood, but as I grew older, I moved on from the play-acting that was so much fun.  As I focused more on grades and girls, I forgot about how important Star Wars was to me until that fateful year when Lucas decided to re-release THE Star Wars trilogy for its twentieth anniversary.  I was a junior in college when word got around that Episodes 4, 5, and 6 were coming to a theater near us.  When I saw those trailers on the screen, the memory of loving imagination came back to me, and I discovered a love of nostalgia through re-discovering the Star Wars movies from a social perspective.  Sure, I owned the movies on VHS, but now I was experiencing the excitement and expectation of the movies’ coming to the theater through the connections and friends I made that year; all based on a love of Star Wars.

As I near forty (less than two years away!), I find that I have a strong connection to anything that reminds me of my beloved childhood moments of “playing Star Wars”.  That strong nostalgia also endeared to me the memory of the amazing imagination that I had as a child, and guess what?  I still have it!  I still see those Endor trees when I jump on a bike, and I still see a light saber in every branch that I pull out of our yard before I mow.  I will always be grateful to Mr. Lucas for creating something that instilled in me the ability to still embrace the imagination of a child when I want to.  I can’t wait to experience that joy with my son when he’s old enough to enjoy these movies.  By the way, when Episode 8 comes to theaters, my son Rhys will be about the age I was when Episode 5 debuted.  Is that a coincidence or just simple tricks and nonsense?  I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to imagine that it’s the ways of the Force telling me that Star Wars was good for me.

************************************

Dan and I met at Milligan. During our Senior year, we duked it out in a campus-wide Star Wars trivia contest. We wound up tied for first because they ran out of questions. So we shared the prizes. Dan and Will are the only other people I know who had the Droid Factory as a kid. So when I started thinking about Star Wars MONTH, I knew I needed to have his insight because we share a similar love for Star Wars. And that love runs deep.

Thanks, Dan, for writing this! The Force will be with you. Always.

Confessions of an Addict

Confessions of a Star Wars Addict

by Will Oates

For most of the 80s I was totally addicted.  I couldn’t conquer my addiction, and I didn’t really want to.  It was a fantastical groovy trip every time I revisited it.  The colors, the sounds, the rush.  Many didn’t understand my addiction, but there were others who were into the the epic scene I was taken in by.  If you were born in the mid 70s or 80s you, like me, may have tried this drug and were addicted too. You are probably also blown away when people tell you that they haven’t even tried it or, if they have tried it, they didn’t find it appealing.  Of course the drug I speak of is, was, and shall be Star Wars.  It was giant space cruisers knocking each other back and forth with laser bolts. It was people saying things I didn’t understand like “kessel run,” “parsecs,” “S-foils.” It was guys with names like Wedge, Porkins, Lando and Jabba.  There were X-Wings, Y-Wings, Tie Fighters, Star Destroyers and of course the Falcon.  And there were midichorians…..OK maybe not the last one so much, but you know what I am talking about if you were hip to the scene.

There has always been something about the original Star Wars movies that resonates with my soul.  I am not by any means a total prequel hater. They had their moments, although they do pale in comparison.  I think being raised in a Christian home, in a small midwest farm town with one blinking red light, I could relate in a big way to many of the classic themes and characters that Star Wars brought forth in a new appealing way.  It is a classic story, nothing particularly new.  A kid from the backwater goes out to win the ultimate battle of good vs. evil and learns valuable lessons along the way.  It clicked with me.  Of course as a kid I thought Han Solo was so cool- he had a cool dog, cool ride, cool gun, cool smirk, and said cool stuff like- “don’t get cocky kid,” “flying through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops” or “one thing’s for sure we’re all gonna be a lot thinner.”  I wanted to be that smooth, but realistically I was probably more like Luke.  Clueless, awkward, frustrated, and sometimes whiny but eager for something bigger.  I still think Han is the coolest, but Luke had to learn many of the lessons I had to learn- patience, confidence, trust in a power outside of himself, love for friends and family, and just finding his way to maturity.  Luke had the biggest transformation from New Hope to Jedi.  As I have matured and continue to mature, I see that change in myself.  I strive to learn more and become a better person.  I still haven’t mastered my own lightsaber or used the force to get the remote, but I am growing up and still have a lot to learn on my life journey.  Now I understand life is a journey and there will be successes and failures.

As much as I related to Luke, I was terrified of Vader.  He was and continues to be the ultimate bad guy.  My dad hung Star Wars lobby cards in my room as a kid.  As much as I wanted them to be there at bedtime, I couldn’t handle Vader looking down at me as he surveyed the carnage on Tantive IV.  I gave into my fear and the stills had to be taken down.  I was like the guys on the star destroyer that were curiously watching Vader force choke a commander but quickly scurried away when it was over.  He was mysterious and commanding, but you couldn’t look away.  No one could talk back to him except for some reason Boba Fett, Moff Tarkin and the Emperor.  I always wondered why that was, but that’s a question for a different day.  Vader’s journey is as important as Luke’s.  A man so lost he forgot who he was, but the love of his son brought him back.  I can’t relate to being that lost but I do know I constantly fail and love brings me back.

There are many other characters and life lessons that come from Star Wars for me but growing up, love and redemption are the ones that always ring true.  I treasure the Star Wars films and will continue to do so.  They have this uncanny ability to bring people together, and I think that is ultimately what I love so much about them.  I’ve stood in unbearable lines at two Star Wars Celebrations in Indianapolis but gabbing and joking with fellow fans made the wait worthwhile.  At college, my good friend Noelle begged and begged the pimple faced usher to let us into the press screening of Star Wars Special Edition a night early.  He finally relented, we got in, I got to see New Hope on the big screen for the first time and she promptly fell asleep.  I got to go the next night and see it again with a theater full of fellow fans from Milligan College and it was amazing.  There are so many other fond memories of Star Wars and friends.  I can’t wait to further share my Star Wars adventures with my 2 year old son and my daughter.  I hear Episode VII may have a major young female character; I hope she can relate.  My son Liam has a blanket from Celebration Europe with the A-Z’s of Star Wars.  We’re working the characters- so far we have Vader, Chewbacca, D2, and Trooper down.  He’s my padawan and I hope he finds as many great friends and great times in name of Star Wars as I have.  I could continue on with memories but I will end with this this quote from one of my favorite bands Gaelic Storm. They sum up my Star Wars experience the best, “if good times were dollars I would be a millionaire” If I had a buck for every great Star Wars friend or experience I’ve had, I’d be rich.  The good thing is that I’m not like Han in this respect “if money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.”  In the end even Han realized it was more about friends than it was the payoff.

*********************************

Will and I met at Milligan. We have two very strong bonds: Star Wars and intramural softball. We were on the same team for a couple of years and while I don’t want to toot my own horn, the Quaker Oats were pretty good. As I plotted out what I was going to do in recognition of Star Wars MONTH, I knew I needed to have Will share his story. As you can see, I wasn’t wrong. Thanks, Will, for sharing your story!

If you, dear reader, have a story to tell about your Star Wars experience, I’d love to hear it! Shoot me an email and we’ll get the ball rolling!

Our epic Star Wars breakfast

I promised that this year’s May 4th breakfast was going to be epic. I think this was a pretty good effort. Don’t you agree?

Epic Star Wars Breakfast #MayThe4thBeWithYou

Here’s a breakdown of what we had:

Millennium Falcon Shooter

Inspiration: I had originally called this the Death Star Shooter. And I still feel good about that name. But then I remembered that tradition states that the Millennium Falcon was inspired by a hamburger with an olive randomly placed beside the burger. So naming a breakfast sandwich that kind of looks like a mini cheeseburger after the Millennium Falcon makes total sense. Right?

Recipe:

1 slider bun
1/2 sausage patty
1/2 of a fried egg

It makes the most sense to make two Shooters at a time, since you really don’t want to waste half of an egg. Or if you really really like a lot of egg, you could put a whole egg on the sandwich. On Saturday, I cut a pound of sausage into patties. Then I cut those patties in half again. I cooked them Saturday afternoon and put them in the fridge so that would be one less thing I had to do on Sunday morning. It’s crazy enough trying to get out of here in time for church on Sunday morning without having to wait for sausage to fully cook.

On Sunday morning, I fried an egg and cut it in half after it was done cooking. I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese on it and placed the egg on a slider bun with a reheated mini sausage patty.

Viola! Awesome Falcon Shooters!

Princess Leia Cinnamon Roll

Inspiration: Come on. Really?

Princess Leia cinnamon roll hair

image via cheezburger.com

Recipe:

Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. A cop-out? Probably. But I’m OK with that.

Tatooine Sunrise

Inspiration: The binary sunset on Tatooine. But I couldn’t really call this a sunset because it was for breakfast. So it really needed to be called a Sunrise.

I guess you could also say it was inspired by a tequila sunrise, too. But there isn’t any alcohol in it. Or grenadine. So we’ll just say that I came up with this all on my own. :)

Recipe:

3/4 glass of orange juice
splash of strawberry Sunkist

If I was thinking, I would’ve included 2 thin slices of clementine orange to represent the two suns of Tatooine.

Oh well. There’s always next year!

I think it’s safe to say that this year’s Star Wars breakfast for Star Wars Day lived up to the hype. It was pretty spectacular.

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone! What awesome things did you do to recognize the day?

 

Happy Free Comic Book Day!

In honor of Star Wars MONTH, I journeyed over to Comics Are Cool to see if they had any special Star Wars comics available for this year’s installment of Free Comic Book Day.

I wasn’t disappointed. I found this little gem.

Free Comic Book Day 2014 - Steam Wars

The cover’s a nifty little throwback to the iconic Star Wars poster. With a steampunk twist.

Star Wars Poster

Image via Geek-tastic

I’ve never really been that much of a steampunk fan. Dont’ get me wrong. It’s not that I dislike the genre. I’ve just never really gotten into it all that much. This comic book, however, however…

I’m intrigued.

In other news, I also grabbed a copy of a Hello Kitty comic. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out which little girl claimed that one as soon as I got home.

Mihret's Hello Kitty comic from Free Comic Book Day 2014

How about you? What free comic book awesomeness did you grab today?

 

A Wookiee playing a cello? Yes. A Wookiee. Playing a cello.

Looking for something fun to do to kick off Star Wars MONTH? It looks like the Fishers Library has just the thing. They’re hosting a Star Wars Day Festival from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow (May 3). The schedule is full of all kinds of fun events, like hands-on exhibits about the science of Star Wars, a Jedi Training Arena, a costume contest, a Star Wars trivia contest, Star Wars themed cupcakes from Gigi’s (oh man, that sounds awesome) and a Wookiee playing a cello.

Yup.

A Wookiee.

Playing a cello.

Wookiee cellist

Image via Wookiee Cellist

The Wookiee Cellist will be performing with the  iL Troubadore Klingon Music Project. This isn’t the first time they’ve performed together. I found this little gem from last year’s Gen Con.

I must admit, though, that I feel a little uneasy about this. A Wookiee performing with a Klingon band? Isn’t that akin to crossing the streams? It might create a time paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum, and destroy the entire universe! Granted, that’s a worse case scenario. The destruction might in fact be very localized, limited to merely our own galaxy.

Anyone heading to the library for some Star Wars awesomeness on Saturday? Who knows? Maybe we’ll load up the kids and head up to Fishers for a while. If so, I’m definitely wearing my Chewbacca shirt.

My Chewbacca selfie

Maybe I can get a selfie with the Cellist. That would be all kinds of awesome.

 

Happy Star Wars MONTH, y’all!

Happy Star Wars MONTH

With Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!), Revenge of the 6th, and a whole bunch of anniversaries commemorating the opening days of the Star Wars saga, there is a lot of Star Wars awesomeness to go around. So I’ve decided to dedicate the whole month to Star Wars.

That’s right. We cannot limit our Star Wars celebration to merely one day anymore. It’s time to step up our game. It’s time to expand the Star Wars festivities to fill the entire month, not just one lousy day.

So let us make merry this fine first day of May. Grab an Ewok and dance. Ask your sweetheart to put cinnamon rolls on her head. Swing your lightsabers round and round. And stop trying to adapt your speeders to the cold (because it is Spring, after all). We’re gonna party like it’s a long time ago in a galaxy far far away!

All.

month.

long.

So happy Star Wars month, y’all! And remember: the Force will be with you.

Always.

What I hope for Star Wars: Episode VII

Star Wars

I know I’ve been silent about it for a while, but I must say that I’m quite excited that they’re about to start filming Star Wars Episode VII. And now that I know that it’s supposed to take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to seeing some of my favorite characters return to the big screen for one last hurrah.

I’m especially looking forward to the return of Jar Jar Binks. That’s right. I’ve dumped Chewie. Jar Jar is my all time favorite Star Wars character. And he would be a great addition to the cast of characters expected to return in Episode VII. Sure, the character will be pushing 90 years old when Gungans generally live to be 65 or so. But that’s OK. Because he’s Jar Jar. And an ancient Jar Jar would be awesome, wouldn’t it? Especially if he becomes a Jedi Knight. He could totally help restore the Jedi Order.

Or maybe they could make him the chief antagonist. Could you imagine Jar Jar as a Dark Lord of the Sith? That would be epic. I sure hope Disney, Lucasfilm, and J.J. Abrams, make this happen. Maybe I should start a petition or something. Think I should get the White House involved? I mean, this is pretty important stuff.

Because the world needs more Jar Jar.

Jedi Jar Jar Binks

Image via Wired.com

Oh. And one more thing.

April Fools.

I know. I totally fooled you. Didn’t I?

Smile! It’s the International Day of Happiness!

Be Happy

Someone somewhere has decided that today is International Day of Happiness. So here’s a few videos that should bring a smile to your face. And if they don’t bring a smile to your face, then you probably don’t have a soul.*

So smile! Be happy! It just might change your day.

And if we focused our energy on smiling instead of fighting all the time, it would make the world a much better place, right? So go ahead. Smile. You might change the world.

*I realize that you can have a soul and not smile when you listen to these songs. But your heart is probably three sizes too small. I’ll bet if you do smile, it’ll make your heart grow a little bit. That can’t be a bad thing. So live a little and turn that frown upside down, Mr. Grumpypants.

Star Trek fans: this dad needs your help!

Kids in Space

I have a big confession to make. Some of you aren’t going to like it. But that’s OK. I’ve come to grips with this horrible parental neglect that I’ve been practicing for the last decade or so. The whole situation is what it is and it’s time that I man up and own what I have done.

Or what I haven’t done.

I like to dabble in the art of geekery. I enjoy a good superhero story or a sci-fi flick. I still wouldn’t qualify myself as a “gamer,” but I have allowed myself to get caught up in the occasional pursuit of video game domination. It’s because of my interest in all things geek, I’m pretty excited (it took all that was within me not to say “pretty geeked” here) about Indy PopCon*. But when push comes to shove, my first true geek love has been and always will be the Star Wars universe. That being said, there’s plenty of room for Star Trek.

And that’s where I’ve failed my kids.

This might even be a bigger failure than the fact that Aiden’s favorite Star Wars episode is Attack of the Clones. I don’t know how I allowed this to happen. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to admit it.

My kids have never watched Star Trek.

There. I said it. I know this is a travesty. But it’s time to fix this situation. And that’s where I need your help.

Since I’m introducing them to the Star Trek universe, I need to provide an introduction. How do I do that? Where should their starting point be as they boldly go where they had not gone before?

Come on. You knew that reference was coming.

Begin at the beginning?

In The Sound of Music, Maria tells us that the very beginning is a very good place to start. That ain’t happening here. Thanks to Netflix, I recently had the chance to re-watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And that’s definitely somewhere I don’t want to start with them. In fact, I’m not even sure if they’d miss anything if they never saw it. Unless they desperately need to understand some cultural reference to V’Ger. Or fall asleep. Then I guess they could watch it.

Now that we’ve established that we aren’t beginning at the beginning, where does that leave us? I remember watching The Wrath of Khan in the movie theatre. I didn’t eat my popcorn during the rest of the movie after watching this scene. I was scared those wormish things were in my bucket of popcorn and would crawl into my ears.

Oh man. It still makes me squirm. That’s some good filmmaking right there.

Since I’ll be watching it with them, I could guide them through the film, filling in the gaps along the way. That would make sense, right? Then I could follow with the two subsequent sequels that complete this story arc.

I have no desire to watch Star Trek V again. So I don’t really want to subject them to watching a bunch of retired guys flying around the universe in search of the Divine. It just didn’t hold my attention and I highly doubt it’ll capture theirs, either.

OK, so we’ve established that I’m not going to initially show them The Motion(less) Picture or The Final Frontier. Might as well throw Insurrection and Nemesis into that category, too. They’re decent movies, but let’s face it: Insurrection feels like it’s just a really long episode of The Next Generation. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a film. And Nemesis? Well, it just feels like a big ol’ mess.

So that leads into the reboot.

Let’s recap, shall we? 

This is the order I’m thinking of showing the Star Trek films to my kids:

  1. The Wrath of Khan (II)
  2. The Search for Spock (III)
  3. The Voyage Home (IV)
  4. The Undiscovered Country (VI)
  5. Generations
  6. First Contact
  7. Star Trek (reboot)
  8. Into Darkness

OK, Star Trek lovers, I need your insight!

Is this the right path to take? Or should I start with the Next Generation films and then somehow fill in the story after those? The problem with doing that is they really won’t care that much about Kirk’s appearance in Generations if they don’t know who he is or why he is so significant.

I would assume that very few of you would suggest that we start with the reboot. Right?

And then once we’re done with Star Trek, I guess I should introduce them to Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters.

Oh man. I’ve failed my kids. I’ve failed them.

Please help!

Oh, and live long and prosper!

 

 

*Yeah. That’s an affiliate link. I’m a member of the Indy PopCon Street Team! :D